CHICAGO – In one heart and one community, the Lutheran college and university students will participate in "Celebrate IV: Weave Us Together" at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 28 - Jan. 1.
Hosted by the Council for Ecumenical Christian Ministry (CESCM) and the National Catholic Student Coalition, "Celebrate" is an ecumenical event designed to bring together students to engage in social justice, political action, philosophical contemplation and more. The event takes place every four years.
CESCM is a partnership of students and higher education staff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church.
"According to CESCM the theme, 'Weave Us Together,' was chosen to evoke the image of the first people of the Southwest in the United States," said Lisa Parker, Lutheran Student Movement-USA (LSM-USA) intern, ELCA Division for Higher Education and Schools. "The first people of the Southwest wove blankets to shelter their people, carry their young, support their eldest and give image to their vision and hopes," Parker said.
Through Bible study, keynote presentations, tours, workshops and worship, students will weave together a new spiritual community that will support works of justice and elucidate faith and belief, Parker said. About 1,200 students from across the United States and around the world are expected to attend.
Keynote speakers include Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat volunteers have built homes with more than 100,000 families in need in more than 1,500 U.S. cities and 82 other countries. Another speaker will be Paula McGee, president of Paula McGee Ministries -- a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people discover their calling in life, find personal peace and self-fulfillment.
Workshop topics range from social witness and justice to faith and spirituality. The event will also feature small group reflection activities and social events.
"The gathering is designed to bring together students with a common Christian heritage to 'celebrate,'" said Parker. Students from other faith backgrounds are also invited to attend.
Parker said members of the ELCA who participate in LSM-USA will meet during Celebrate's "denominational time" to conduct the business of LSM-USA and elect new officers -- president, secretary and secretary of international and multicultural concerns. About 400 Lutherans from across the United States are expected to attend. Four students from Brazil, Japan, Slovakia and Tanzania are also expected to attend.
LSM-USA is a national organization of college, university and seminary students who worship in the Lutheran tradition. Through the organization, Lutheran students work to promote the active participation of students in the life and mission of the Lutheran church on their campuses, in their communities and as individuals. The ELCA Division for Higher Education and Schools supports LSM-USA as an active voice of students in the larger church through financial and organizational support.
LSM-USA's legislative body operates on a regional and national level. It has a national gathering every December over the New Year's holiday with opportunities for worship, fellowship, service, faith exploration and fun.
Established in 1923 and originally called the Lutheran Student Association of America, its first gathering was held at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill. The gathering there began the tradition of an annual national conference. In 1969, the name of the association changed to the Lutheran Student Movement-USA. Led by and for students, LSM-USA strives to better understand and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ through the exploration of social and spiritual concerns as the active voice of students in the church at the regional and national level.
By Albert H. Lee